22 Sep 2021

SAU Signs Articulation Agreement with Grand Valley State University’s HBCU Pipeline Program

From left are Dean Paul Plotkowski; Vice President B. Donta Truss; Janita Patrick, SAU associate vice president of student success; and Josiah Sampson, SAU provost.

RALEIGH, NC – Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) signed an articulation agreement with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to provide its students opportunities to earn master’s degrees in advanced computing or engineering fields in as little as five years. This is GVSU’s second agreement with a Historically Black College/University.

Representatives from SAU and GVSU met September 20th on the University’s campus to sign the agreement. In April, Grand Valley and Fort Valley State University (FVSU), in Georgia, signed a similar agreement and created a pipeline consortium to recruit other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges/Universities) and HSIs (Hispanic Serving Institutions).

“This collaboration provides GVSU students exposure to an HBCU experience and SAU students exposure to programs of studies that we do not offer,” said SAU President Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail. “As we reimagine SAU, this partnership is an innovative way to deliver curriculum and expanded career options for students matriculating at both institutions.”

Representatives from both SAU and GVSU believe that this agreement aligns with their university’s strategic plans and meets the needs of their respected communities.

“We are so pleased to welcome students from Saint Augustine’s to Grand Valley soon,” said GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella in a statement. “They are set up for success by having a strong STEM educational foundation. At GVSU, they will find support and resources to continue their education and then begin their careers.”

“The partnership between SAU and GVSU is one that will provide a strong academic and professional opportunity, assure socioeconomic mobility, and increase diversity and inclusion in many spaces,” said SAU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Josiah J. Sampson, III. “The genuine investment of both institutions makes this relationship uniquely wonderful. We are very excited about the many opportunities that this will offer students in this and other areas.” 

GVSU leaders also believe that this agreement gives students from SAU opportunities to find meaningful careers in fields like cybersecurity, applied computer science or biomedical engineering and that the University’s current support system, like FVSU, will ensure a seamless transition to Grand Valley for their students.

“Grand Valley is not competing with the rich tradition of HBCUs,” said GVSU Vice President for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach B. Donta Truss in a statement. “This is a collaboration to give Black and African/American students who come from SAU or a similar institution the resources and support they need to earn competitive jobs in disciplines not offered at their colleges.”

“The FVSU students have naturally reached out to their existing advisors in Georgia, as well as new advisors, for help as they navigate the differences between institutions, academic programs and expectations,” said GVSU Dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing Paul Plotkowski in a statement. “One student is now a resident advisor at a GVSU living center, and I think they have all enjoyed this recent stretch of Michigan’s warmer weather.”

SAU students can enroll at Grand Valley beginning in the Fall 2022 semester. There are six FVSU students currently enrolled at GVSU. SAU students will have access to scholarship and financial support, student support and retention services, Michigan in-state tuition rates, and opportunities to visit GVSU before enrolling.

About Saint Augustine’s University

Founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the mission of Saint Augustine’s University is to sustain a learning community in which students can prepare academically, socially and spiritually for leadership in a complex, diverse and rapidly changing world.

About Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University was chartered by the Michigan legislature in 1960 in response to the need for a public, four-year college in the state’s second largest metropolitan region. Its mission is educating students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. The university contributes to the enrichment of society through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service.